When Wall Street sees fit to raise the grade on a company's stock, there's generally a rush from the momentum investing crowd to pile in. And if quarterly estimates are exceeded for the stock, you can usually count on a further buying surge from that same cohort. In short, the standards and expectations that Wall Street investment houses set for the companies they cover may be a moving target, ever adjusted and readjusted as new data become available. But when either the bar is raised or reported results are bested, the money flows rise.
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Here are three stocks that recently saw at least one major brokerage elevate them to a higher investment rung.
Cleanest Stock In The Land
The Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX) manufactures a wide variety of consumer products including bleaches and other household cleaning products, STP and Armor All auto care products and Brita water filtration systems. Barclays recently upgraded Clorox from "Equal Weight" to "Overweight" and raised the company's share price target from $67 to $71.
Clorox shares are up better than 26% in the last year and trade with a price/earnings (P/E) ratio of 15.36. The share yield is an annual 3.13% and is up 13.25% over last year's payout. Earnings per share (EPS) growth for the last five years is an impressive 10.74%.
Onyx Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ONXX) along with its partner, drug giant Bayer AG (OTC: BAYRY), is in the business of developing and commercializing therapies for kidney and liver cancer, among others. Goldman Sachs just upped the ante on Onyx, lifting the company from a "Neutral" rating to a "Buy".
Onyx shares have risen 10% in the last year, trailing the Pharmaceutical HOLDRs ETF (NYSE: PPH), which rose nearly 19%, but Goldman believes the company is now a ripe takeover target.
Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) may already be everyone's favorite coffee destination, but it's now also been fingered by UBS for an upgrade from "Neutral" to "Buy".
Starbucks stock rose nearly 115% in the last 12 months, better than doubling the performance of the broad Nasdaq index, represented by the PowerShares QQQ Trust ETF (Nasdaq: QQQQ).
Analyst upgrades are gravy on the momentum investor's meat and potatoes. Look for more upside action on these stocks in the weeks and months ahead. (For more on analyst expectations, be sure to read Analyst Recommendations: Do Sell Ratings Exist?)
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